I've been eating more and more salads (yay me!), and I was planning to buy a salad spinner. Now that I want to embrace the zero-waste lifestyle, I've decided I don't want to buy a salad spinner because
1. I don't want another appliance in my home (a.k.a. more clutter)
2. I don't want to be responsible for causing the trash that my salad spinner will inevitably end up as one day.
So, how do you wash and dry the veggies in your salad quickly and conveniently without a salad spinner?
I wash my lettuce for salad in a colander in the sink while ripping it a part. I then pat the pieces dry with a clean dish towel or two. I store the lettuce in a large le parfait jar in the refrigerator for easy salads all week long. I have found that a full head of lettuce fills up about two large jars.
For whole leaf lettuce needs such as for lettuce wraps or sandwiches I just rip off a leaf or two wash it individually under cold water and pat dry with a clean dish towel.
Thank you! That's pretty much what I've been doing (except with paper towels, and I can easily use dish towels instead), but I find that it's hard to get all the water off, or I get lazy and don't wash it at all because I don't want to mess with patting it dry. Guess I just need to stop being lazy. :O
I am wondering if there is another appliance that I might already have that could work like a salad spinner?
In "the old days", i.e., pre-plastic everything, there were collapsible wire baskets with handles. You'd load up the greens, walk outside and start swinging in a big vertical circle. Worked pretty well! I suspect you could do something similar with a dish towel, if you have somewhere to "swing" where all the flying water wouldn't matter :-) Otherwise, spread out the greens in a single layer on a big dishtowel (I've seen bath towels used, but may have lint issues), roll up loosely and blot gently if need right away or just stick in crisper drawer in the towel. Head lettuce: aside from blotting individual leaves, just find something relatively airtight you can use, rinse and put in with cored side down. Try to keep elevated out of the water, and dump the drained water when you think about it. Obviously greens wilt if not kept damp, though not wet.
There are "salad bags" out there, but don't know if they'd be any better than a dish towel or any cotton bag you made/bought.
Check this out: "How to Dry Salad Without a Salad Spinner"
These are great suggestions! I love the idea of flinging the greens! I have some wire baskets...I'll have to see if I can find a way to put a lid on them or hook a couple of them together or something.
I also like the idea of letting the lettuce drip dry.
I just do what my mother and grandmother did before me. Take a large clean flour sack cloth and lay it out completely open and flat on the counter next to the sink. Rinse greens and shake off excess water, but leave them damp. Then, place them in one thin row across the center of the cloth. They shouldn't be very stacked very deep and if needed can run right up to the edges of the cloth. You should have several inches of the cloth left at the top and the bottom, fold these top and bottom edges of the cloth inwards over the greens. Then roll into a bundle. Refrigerate until use, unrolling as you use them. Greens stored this way should last about 5 days. I do this with all of my greens and leafy herbs and it works really well. But, you might find you need to adjust your fridge settings with this, if your fridge is too cold, greens stored this way will freeze and will be ruined.
One, maybe last, suggestion: If still in the market for a multi-tasker consider this which could be used as a "spinner" (if neccessary with greens wrapped in towel within basket) as well as veggie blancher. I am certain local hardware stores would carry one far cheaper...
I do what my mom did and use the spin cycle of the washing machine. I know it sounds weird (and honestly, it works best with the old top loaders) but she just put the washed lettuce in the washer, turned it to "spin" for a minute or two, and then done.
Cotton dish towels. I donated my salad spinner, they take up a lot of cabinet real estate for a one-use item. I also keep my greens and leaves in glass jars in the fridge, I think they last a little longer.